Rio Wins 2016 Olympic Bid

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Rio de Janeiro won the bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The city won the final round of voting, beating out Chicago, Tokyo, and Madrid. Leaders and citizens of Brazil celebrated the win, which is the first win for a city in South America. The bid promises to build new sports venues and public transportation options, projects that would benefit residents of the city even after the games have left. Some question Rio’s ability to complete the proposed projects on time. Rio was awarded the 2007 Pan American games, and made promises similar to the proposals for the Olympics. Most of those projects, however, were never completed.

Awarding the games to Rio de Janeiro was a surprise to many of the people responsible for the other cities’ bids. Dignitaries from each country, including U.S. president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, attended the Copenhagen conference to lobby for their countries’ cities. The Brazilian Olympic committee was able to sway votes in their favor by suggesting that it was the time to grant the Olympics to a South American city. Now, the only inhabited continent to have not hosted the games is Africa.

Related Links

  • Rio2016
    This is the official site for the Rio Olympics bid and games.
    (Source: Rio2016, October 22, 2009)
  • Rio Wins 2016 Olympics
    This news article describes the voting results and political decisions that resulted in the winning Rio bid.
    (Source: New York Times, October 22, 2009)
  • Olympics 2016: Rio Is the Winner
    This Web page describes the celebrations in Rio after the win was announced.
    (The Guardian UK, October 22, 2009)
  • Rio’s Olympics Quest
    This news article describes the difficulties facing Rio de Janeiro in preparing the city for the Olympic Games.
    (Source: Time, October 22, 2009)

Other Issues in the Region

Income Gap

Latin America has abundant resources, but a small percentage of the people have benefited most from those resources. According to the World Bank, the richest 10 percent of the population of Central and South America and the Caribbean earn 48 percent of the region’s income. The poorest 10 percent earn only 1.6 percent. Attitudes about race and ethnicity are one reason for the widespread inequality in Latin America. Indigenous peoples and Latin Americans of African descent have fewer educational and job opportunities than whites. High-quality public services, such as health care, water, electricity, and sewage, are unequally divided according to race and socioeconomic status. The World Bank found that unequal distribution of resources hinders development and can be traced to patterns set up during European colonization. Solving the problem will require wise leadership, participatory democracy, and changes in social and political institutions to bring about reform.

  • Prudent Chile Thrives Amid Downturn
    The economies of developing nations around the world, including in Latin America, have been hurt by the global recession of 2008–09. Thanks to careful management of windfall profits in its copper industry, Chile has been able to weather the storm.
    (Source: Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2009)

Giving Citizens a Voice

On September 11, 2001, the same day that terrorists attacked the United States, members of the Organization of American States (OAS), were meeting in Lima, Peru, to demonstrate their commitment to democracy. Among them were Canada, the United States, Mexico, and countries of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. They signed the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The first article of the charter states, “The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy, and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it. Democracy is essential for the social, political, and economic development of the peoples of the Americas.”

The charter spells out basic elements of a representative democracy. It emphasizes the importance of human rights and urges the participation of all citizens. It calls for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and addresses the need to eliminate poverty and illiteracy. Economic development and education are stressed as important factors in strengthening the democratic process.

  • Democracy Clause an Obstacle to Cuba in OAS
    A report published by the head of the OAS Jose Miguel Insulza stated that Cuba would have to commit to democracy before the OAS would consider reinstating it. The report comes in the wake of the Fifth Summit of the Americas, where several countries, including Venezuela and Brazil, requested that Cuba be reinstated.
    (Source: Reuters, April 13, 2009)

Rain Forest Resources

Brazil’s rainforest covers a majority of the country’s land. The forest is said to contain 30 percent of Earth’s plant and animal species, and the oxygen produced by its plant life has given the region the nickname “the lungs of the world.” But Brazil’s growing population and expanding economy, particularly its agricultural economy, are putting new demands on the rainforests. Brazil’s government is struggling to find a balance between rainforest preservation and economic growth.

  • Peru Faces Water Versus Oil Dilemma
    Peru is welcoming mining companies, as well as companies interested in looking for oil and gas, to come hunt for natural resources in the country’s Amazon rainforest region, which covers over half the country. But some regions of the country feel that mining and digging for oil should be halted in favor of protecting the environment.
    (Source: BBC, April 6, 2009)

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